Every semester, Doane gives students the opportunity to spend their fall or spring break doing service work at Alternative Break.
This year’s alternative fall break was spent in Kansas City, MO, with ten students, one student site leader and one staff member.
Assistant Director of Leadership and Community Service Andrew Brown has been at Doane since 2016. He has been in charge of the Alternative Breaks during his time here.
Benjamin Zwiener has been the student site leader on the previous few trips but was unable to attend the trip because of sickness.
The group spent the break volunteering with Hallmark Kaleidoscope, Habitat for Humanity and Hope Faith.
Students on the trip assisted the homeless in the community at Hope Faith. Doane students provided them with free clothing and helped acquire building materials for their homes and also helped children with art projects.
“My favorite part of the trip was seeing how passionate our students are and how much they care about helping others achieve their potential. Seeing our students spend four days helping children at Kaleidoscope discover art and provide homeless in the Kansas City area with a new set of clothes touched my heart. It makes me very thankful for the job I have and the opportunity to work with our inspiring students at Doane,” Brown said.
Sophomore Maddie Brandenburg was one of the students who went on the trip. Although it was her first time on an alternative break, Brandenburg said that she has done service work in the past and enjoys it.
Brandenburg said that the work was rewarding but emotionally challenging at times. "There were a few really hard emotional moments. The homeless shelter had a lot of not so safe and happy things that happened, but it made me realize how things could be worse in my own life," Brandenburg said.
In addition to the service work, students were allowed extra time for excursions. This year, the group went to Worlds of Fun where they rode roller coasters and went through haunted houses, and Zip KC, where they participated in a challenge course and zip lined.
“During the Zip KC experience, it was awesome to see students complete a challenge course. There was one part when the students worked together to flip a tire over that was filled with water and when they had to get through a maze without touching the strings,” Brown said.
For last year’s alternative spring break, students helped out at an animal sanctuary in Wyoming. For the alternative fall break, students helped out at a zoo in Oklahoma City, OK.
For each trip, previous participants of the alternative breaks are asked to help select the next location and theme. Once these are selected, a nonprofit organization is selected that best fits the criteria.
Not only are students encouraged to help a community in need but they are also allowed time to bond and create new friendships.
“Through Doane Alternative Breaks, students have the opportunity to develop into lifelong active citizens in local, national and global communities through diverse, direct-service experiences dedicated to social justice. In addition, it provides students with an opportunity to develop life long memories and friendships with fellow trip participants,” Brown said.